WATCH LIVE: Bruins vs. Rangers in NHL Thanksgiving Showdown

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NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Friday NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

New York comes in having won three straight games for the first time this season after a 3-2 win over Carolina on Wednesday night. Boston closed out its two-game Canadian road trip on Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Ottawa for its fifth consecutive victory as the Bruins enter Thanksgiving the top team in the NHL.

The Bruins are tied with the Capitals for the most points in the NHL with 39 (Washington has played one more game). Barring a second-half of the season collapse, the Stanley Cup runner-up from a year ago looks headed towards its fourth straight playoff appearance. The Rangers, meanwhile, are on the outside looking in as the perennial contenders for much of the 21st century have missed the postseason the last two years and are currently five points back of Carolina and Philadelphia for the Wild Card spots.

Typically, the Thanksgiving Day benchmark is a good indication of which teams will be in the postseason. Here are how things have shaped up since the NHL adopted their current playoff format:

Since 2001-02, at least three teams each season have reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs after being outside the postseason picture at Thanksgiving.

[COVERAGE OF RANGERS-BRUINS BEGINS AT 1 P.M. ET – NBC]

WHAT: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
WHERE: TD Garden
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 29, 1 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Rangers-Bruins stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

RANGERS
Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Artemi PanarinFilip ChytilRyan Strome
Brendan LemieuxBrett HowdenKaapo Kakko
Jesper Fast – Boo Nieves – Brendan Smith

Brady SkjeiJacob Trouba
Ryan LindgrenAdam Fox
Libor HajekTony DeAngelo

Starting goalie: Henrik Lundqvist

BRUINS
Brad MarchandDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Jack Studnicka – Charlie Coyle
Anders BjorkSean KuralyDanton Heinen
Joakim NordstromPar LindholmChris Wagner

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy
Torey KrugBrandon Carlo
Matt GrzelcykConnor Clifton

Starting goalie: Jaroslav Halak

NBC Sports brings NHL Live on the road for Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC, with Kathryn Tappen hosting studio coverage on-site from TD Garden alongside analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will call the 2019 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown.

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.